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The McMillan site is the green 25-acre site at the bottom of the image, directly right of the reservoir. The Armed Forces Retirement Home sits within the green 77-acre site above the Washington Hospital Center.

At various McMillan meetings I’ve attended, people have made vague, unexplained references to development at the Armed Forces Retirement Home (AFRH) nearby.

“Ahhh! Development’s encroaching from all sides” was the gist of what people were saying. “Buildings will soon be sprouting up like weeds all around us!”

Now though, it appears there will be no development at the AFRH. Yesterday, the Washington Postreported that plans to construct housing, a hotel, a supermarket and medical offices were halted last fall.

Timothy Cox, AFRH Chief Operating Officer, said that the value of the land was slipping too low, “so it would not be in the home’s interest to develop.”

Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr.’s reaction was telling. It seems like the man is very, very adamant about seeing growth in his area—-despite how vocal certain residents are against it.

At a recent McMillan meeting to gather community input, Thomas gave an impassioned speech, proclaiming that some development had to happen at the McMillan site, which is slated to be transformed into a colossal mixed-use community with housing, retail, office and parkland.  

While many neighbors showed up to criticize the proposal, they reacted positively to Thomas’s speech. It was odd. One moment people were screaming—-the next, they were cheering a politician’s speech, which implored people to be civil and, essentially, not stand in front of the developers’ mission.

Now, here’s what Thomas had to say to the Post about the stalled AFRH project:

D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5), whose district includes the site, said the decision will slow the neighborhood’s evolution. 

“When you abandon the developer in midstream, it leaves a difficult taste,” he said. “We had a good partner. That was not a prudent decision. I was very eager to move forward.”